Joshua T. White, of the Institute for Global Engagment, spent a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, as the guest of the provincial chief minister, a radical Islamist leader. His insights, which he shares in this Christianity Today article, are well worth reading.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 30, 2007 at 2:54 pm | Edit
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Once again, Tim at Random Observations has provided post which I must pass on.  (Warning:  Yes, it's depressing, but worth reading, really.)  First, read his commentary, You're Just Another (Lego) Brick in the Wall... about an after-school program in Seattle, where teachers took over the children's imaginative Lego play and turned it into a chance for socialist indoctrination.  For a more direct view of the teachers' perspective, read their original article, Why We Banned Legos.

To Tim's insightful post I will only add this:  What about the parents?  Where were they when all this was going on?  Were they expecting childcare and maybe some help with math and reading from this afterschool program?  Did they know their children were getting a heavy dose of politics and indoctrination in values—politics and values possibly in direct opposition to the parents' own?  Certainly most parents would have a few issues with this part of the lesson:

[W]e explored questions about how rules are made and enforced, and when they ought to be followed or broken. We aimed to help children see that all rules (including social structures and systems) are made by people with particular perspectives, interests, and experiences that shape their rule-making. And we wanted to encourage them to consider that there are times when rules ought to be questioned or even broken....

The children were between the ages of five and nine, perhaps not the best ages at which to tell them that obeying their parents' rules is optional.  On the other hand, perhaps the teachers will eventually receive due retribution in the form of students who have decided that the school's rules are not worth following.  Alas, it's probably the high school teachers who will bear that cost. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 7:52 am | Edit
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The day care debate would be only of mild interest to me, given that despite my own strong feelings on the matter, I equally strongly believe that circumstances can be complicated and parents are the best ones to make childrearing decisions for their own families—I say it would be only of mild interest were it not for the growing number of people who believe that "free" day care (paid for by taxes, of course) is the hallmark of civilization.

The other reason I present to you this article on the lastest results from the largest and longest-running study of American child care is the final paragraph. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 26, 2007 at 6:55 am | Edit
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I remember the response, too.

I've written about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine campaign before.  Now I want to share this excellent article by Gina R. Dalfonzo from Christianity Today, (22 March 07) which begins,

You've probably seen the commercials. Over the last few months, it's been almost impossible not to see them. They parade endlessly across our screens—a multitude of women of all ages, from all backgrounds—and they all have the same urgent message to share: "Tell someone that human papillomavirus causes cervical cancer. Tell someone. Tell someone. Tell someone."

To which I can only respond, "We tried."

 (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Edit
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In Arizona, the winning team in the kindergarten through sixth grade category of the recent state scholastic chess championship must know that their victory is tainted.

At least I hope so. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 11:33 am | Edit
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Earlier I wrote about Melissa Busekros, the 15-year-old German girl who was taken from her family to a psychiatric ward and thence to foster care because of her desire to be tutored at home in some subjects.  This morning I learned that the five children of a second family have been ordered into state custody by a German court.

The parents reportedly can regain custody of their children only by placing them in public school.

In the order, which was based solely on the parents' decision against sending their children to public school, the family also was told to pay court costs estimated at $4,000.

The judge had concluded that the children were well-educated, but accused the parents of failing to provide their children with an education in a public school. The court noted that one of the daughters expressed the same opinions as her father, showing they have not had the chance to develop "independent" personalities.

 (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 9:40 am | Edit
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A friend sent me the following YouTube link.  WARNING:  Parts of the video are offensive, and if you go to YouTube and read the comments, many of them are extremely offensive.  Nonetheless, both are part of the point I want to make.  Since my commentary contains some spoilers, you have to click on the "more" link to read it.

 (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 8:07 am | Edit
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Or you can substitute "Conservatives" and "Liberals" for a more general application.

This unfair generalization is based on observations I made over thirty years ago, and it still encapsulates much of what I find incomprehensible and wrong about politics.  It frustrates me that those who apparently care little about concerns that are close to my heart (suffering people, the environment, diversity, families, and freedom of choice) tend to promote policies that advance those causes, while those who speak loudly (and often even sincerely) in favor of these good things support actions that are detrimental, often disastrously so.

So when I awoke to a Random Observations post that expresses my concern better than I ever could, I had to share it with you.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 19, 2007 at 7:08 am | Edit
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Just for you, my dear Northerners, I have run around the house changing the clocks, and will get up unconscionably early tomorrow.  Daylight Saving Time makes little sense in our part of the world, and it seems yet more ridiculous to make the change even earlier this year.

But I do recall that it wasn't so bad to have the time change when we lived up north.  So I'll put up with it for your sakes.  But it does show what part of the country really runs the government, doesn't it?
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 10:09 pm | Edit
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Why the Rest Hates the West:  Understanding the Roots of Global Rage, by Meic Pearse (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2004)

This is not a book review; not yet.  I long to write about Meic Pearse's book, but it deserves a detailed and extensive review which I cannot at the moment accomplish.  Rather than wait entirely until I can put in the requisite time and effort, however, I'm posting this placeholder, because this is an incredibly valuable book!  Its somewhat unfortunate title calls to mind the hand-wringing post-9/11 whine, "Why do they hate us?" but Why the Rest Hates the West is a serious, insightful analysis of the chasm between modern Western culture—more precisely, "anti-culture"—and the rest of the world that no one with more than a few years left on this earth can afford to ignore.

Find the book!  Read it!  Then come back here and tell me what you think.

And I'll put Li'l Writer Guy to work on the review.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 9:46 pm | Edit
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When I read the story of Melissa Busekros, I wonder anew why some people are so anxious to subject our country to the authority of international governing bodies.  Fifteen-year-old Melissa was ripped from her home by German police, committed to a mental hospital, and placed in state custody, all because her parents, concerned that the chaotic environment of her school had contributed to her failure in two subjects, chose to have her tutored at home the next year.  She was (and apparently still is) cut off from contact with her parents and siblings, with the excuse that she is suffering from "school phobia" and contact with her family would exacerbate the problem.

Homeschooling is illegal in Germany.  That's bad enough for German citizens, but could be disastrous for the rest of Europe if the German philosophy gains the upper hand in European Union politics.  And should the United States decide to submit to the authority of the United Nations or another international authority, we would put ourselves at risk of similar tyranny. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 9, 2007 at 9:15 am | Edit
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I'm not holding a grudge, and have recently fallen in love with Japan and her people, but history, remembrance, and memorials are important, so it is sad to note that FDR's date which will live in infamy is mostly ignored.

Yet Ed Hayes came through, as did BC and Mallard(More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 7:02 am | Edit
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Central Florida news teams were positioned to cover what they thought would be the big news of the night—the election—and had to scramble when the weather took center stage.

Have you ever stood in the ocean and had a wave suddenly break over your head? Now imagine that the wave doesn't recede, but continues to pour over you for half an hour, and you have a picture of yesterday's rainstorm. If there's been a heavier downpour in all our 20-some years here, I don't remember it. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 8:07 am | Edit
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Economists are accustomed to drawing conclusions from statistical studies and aggregations of data. It's hard to reduce economic behavior to controlled, double-blind studies, and laboratory rats aren't necessarily a good model for corporate rats. So it came as no surprise to me that some Cornell University economists thought they might get a handle on the elusive cause of childhood autism by studying rainfall and the availablity of cable television. Working from the assumption that children spend more hours watching television in households that have cable TV, and in locations where high rainfall keeps them indoors, and observing significantly higher rates of autism in communities with a confluence of those conditions, the researchers suggested early television viewing as a possible trigger for autism spectrum disorders.

When I first read about the study, I was reminded of a story Peter Drucker tells, in his marvelous, autobiographical, historical commentary, Adventures of a Bystander, about an outstanding statistics teacher at the University of Minnesota. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 8:45 am | Edit
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I mentioned local pastor Joel Hunter once before, when the Orlando Sentinel published an article he wrote on Christians and politics. Today's Sentinel mentions him again, and so will I.

Hunter has accepted the (unpaid) position of president of the Christian Coalition of America. The author of Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Fly With Most Conservative Christians plans to take the Coalition in a new direction, moving its headquarters from Washington, DC to Central Florida, and seeking to broaden its approach and appeal.

"There ought to be more than just gay marriage and pro-life issues, because the Bible is concerned with all of life. We need to do everything we can to relieve poverty, to heal the sick and to protect the Earth."

Much remains to be seen, but it sounds like a positive change.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 30, 2006 at 7:04 am | Edit
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